Lost in the Blur

“To lose it all in the blur of the start! Seeing is deceiving. Dreaming is believing. It’s okay not to be okay…Sometimes it’s hard, to follow your heart.”

Jessie J
Krysten’s Happy Fridays

Hello there! Happy Friday! Summer is here! Stepping back into the WordPress community for a cool dip! Oh, my dear heart… I was spinning in the wheel of life and needed a moment here! ~A breather in my oasis~

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

What Have I Been Up To?

Striking the right balance amongst my various engagements has always been a challenge for me. I often wonder what has motivated me to do so much. Certainly, life is short.

I must say ‘NO’ more often so that I won’t burn out. My question as of late is, “What do I prune?” How do you all prioritize? Varies from individual to individual, I’m sure. These are my happy interests presently!

A2Z Bird Blogging Challenge

I’m still working on this bird challenge! I’m so PROUD that I got halfway through. Because of this extended A2Z challenge, I’ve been paying more attention to the birds who live in my area and feeling a greater sense of gratitude for their presence.

Masters Degree in IT Innovation and Management

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

Abigail Adams

I’ve been diligently working on my master’s program, and it’s been a rather steep learning curve for me. There have been days where I just feel like I’ve been staring at a block of text for hours at a time and cross-checking with other references. On the one hand, I have been fighting analysis paralysis, and on the other, I have been learning about some fascinating things. One day I will experience the bittersweet taste of victory!

Udemy’s Blogging Masterclass

I’m also reinvesting in my blogging skills by taking a Udemy Masterclass: Blogging Masterclass: How To Build A Successful Blog In 2021. Thank you, Mr.A, for this fantastic gift! I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I truly love blogging, and look forward to learning and sharing with others.

Work Accomplishment

My technical writing duties have occupied my thoughts as I’m assisting the CEO create a presentation for INSA‘s National Security Showcase. I’m floored that one of our technologies got selected by their committee! I helped submit the write-up for the application. Only a dozen out of hundreds of applicants got chosen. I’m humbled. Yet, it’s the software developers that deserve the credit. I’m just helping them get a piece of the limelight! The next thing I know my supervisor is offering me a promotion.

Birthday Month

I had a lovely time at the caverns and took plenty of photos of these magnificent beauties. One of my friends fainted due shift in humidity levels being 150 feet below the earth and all. Very grateful for the EMT and staff! We enjoyed an authentic Italian meal afterwards. Siblings gave me a few helpful tools to better manage life. One of my friends gave me nun-chucks and a flying lesson!

Rotary

I recently got recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow for our local Rotary group. Deeply honored. I created a short, snazzy animated promo video for our club, and we won a district superhero challenge!

Toastmasters

Crafted, prepared, and delivered my 3nd speech about my father’s solar powered cowboy hat! 6 minutes of Nerves. Joy. Growth. Overcoming my fear of public speaking one speech at a time.

Crochet Group

Working on Tinna Thórudóttir Thorvaldsdóttir‘s Saga crochet pattern for a gorgeous pillow!

Beauty Consultant

I’ve studied hard and earned some educational bling! I’m now an advanced product consultant for skincare, color cosmetics, and clinical solutions. I’ve been engaging with my clients on social media and learning about fun applications. Exploring new fragrances through poetry with the help of a friend.

Books

Reading when I can… while waiting in lines…

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • The Odyssey Chronicles by Carolyn Shelton
  • Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel
  • Even as We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
  • Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence by Erik Qualman
Astrology & Horoscopes

Even though I read Yodha’s fun, inspiring messages as entertainment, I enjoy learning about it when I again have the chance. I have various mutable signs within my natal chart indicating flexible, adaptable, and changeable qualities (modalities) which allows me to see life from many different perspectives. I learned that I have a Mercury in Gemini, Lilith in Virgo, and North Node in Pisces. Mom has a ton of Sagittarius in her chart. Thinkers and philosophers in the zodiac!

Finding Clarity

“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”

Atul Gawande

I’ve been doing more brain dumps and mind mapping exercises to keep moving forward and uncover more of my life’s purpose. As for my blog, I will continue to write about the birds, some new poems, and share new photos I took on my break!

Perhaps a spa day is in order. A massage with essential oils sounds nice!

Take care now & I’ll see you soon ❤

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Today’s Prompts

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Lark

Featured Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas

  • Physical Description: The horned lark is a small brown bird with a buff chest, a black mask, and a black patch surrounded by pale yellow on its throat. This bird has two small feather crests on either side of the top of its head, giving rise to its name. Larks are small to medium-sized birds, about 8 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 12.5 inches. They weigh about 1.5 ounces
  • Geographic Distribution: The horned lark is the only true lark native to North America. It is found from northern Canada and down to the southern United States and Mexico
  • Environment: This bird favors grassy, open plains.
Horned Lark Image Credit: Pinterest

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Folklore tells us that the lark sings and flies as close to heaven as possible to demonstrate its joy at being alive, something we evoke when we say that someone is “as happy as a lark.” The collective noun for a group of larks is an “exultation,” a beautiful reminder of the joy associated with this bird.

Larks were once considered game birds, and were eaten as part of luxurious feasts. The cheery French-Canadian folksong “Alouette” is about plucking a lark, a fact that astonishes many people when the words are translated for them.

A “lark is a term for a playful romp or fun activity, often perceived as irresponsible in some way. The word lark is also used to describe a person who functions best when he rises early in the morning and goes to bed early.

The Colorado state bird is the prairie lark bunting, which is actually a member of the sparrow family. The meadowlark, the state bird of Kansas, is not a true lark either; it belongs to the Sturnella genus, which also includes some blackbirds.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

If you see a lark, it could be telling you to cast off the shackles of responsibility for a bit and go on a figurative lark. Play hooky; visit the zoo, the aquarium, or the museum. Get some ice cream, or treat yourself to a new book and a full-fat latte. Do something out of the ordinary, something you’ve always wanted to do but felt wasn’t dignified enough, or something you couldn’t possibly do because you were too grown up.

The lark can also be telling you to experience more joy in your life. Are you working so hard that you’ve forgotten how to have fun? Think of the image of the skylark, flying as high as it can while singing in sheer exultation. You can figuratively sing out to celebrate the things you love in your life. The lark may be reminding you that you do, in fact, have things to sing about.

Associated Energies: Joy, celebration, playfulness
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air
Color Association: Brown, beige

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I know the author of this book said that her book wasn’t meant an exhaustive reference, but I realized the focus of her geographic distributions is limited to the North America region often. I know that there are larks all throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

There are so many different types of larks out there. I thought this Magpie looked like a skunk! 🙂

Magpie Lark Image by picman2 from Pixabay

Yes! I’ve been working very hard as of late. My face is breaking out as if I was a teenager again. However I’m planning a trip to the Natural Bridge Caverns with some friends for my birthday in a few weeks. It’s been a long while since I went spelunking in a cave. I’m also looking forward to a live Q&A session with the author of the book, The Midnight Library.

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Christopher McCandless

I think of how fascinated I am by so many pictures and angles of sunsets and sunrises even though it’s just one sun. In “The Midnight Library”, there’s was a quote about fish that makes me think about how important it is for us to have fresh experiences.

“Fish get depressed when they have a lack of stimulation. A lack of everything. When they are just there, floating in a tank that resembles nothing at all.”

Haig, Matt. The Midnight Library (p. 83). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Maybe the sound of wood larks would help me mediate and relax a bit, before I take on my next assignment. 🙂

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Egret

Featured Image by Simerpreet Cheema from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: The great egret is a long-necked and long-legged bird with white plumage. The bill is yellow, and the legs black. It measures 35 to 40 inches long, with a wing-span of about 55 inches and a weight of about 2 pounds.
  • Geographic Distribution: The great egret is found from southern Canada down through the United States and South America, as well as in Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia. Partially migratory, northern birds will move southward during the cooler times of the year
  • Environment: The egret lives in wetlands such as marshes and swamps, in both salt and freshwater, and along rivers and ponds. It is comfortable in close contact with human civilization.
Photo by Jerry Amende – Audubon Photography Awards

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Formally called aigettes (“little herons”), these stately birds were once in great demand by the millinery trade for their feathers. As such, the egret is now the symbol of the National Audubon Society, whose tenets include protecting birds from being killed to harvest their feathers.

To the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, an egret is a symbol of the ultimate in rarity and beauty. To see one is a great blessing, as egrets are rare in New Zealand.

Folklore shows egrets as being loyal and devoted parents, who refuse to leave their young in the nest.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

An egret conveys a message of serenity and beauty. A noble bird, it reminds us to stand tall and to be self-possessed.

The Maori perception of the egret as a thing of rarity is also to be considered. Every moment of a day is sacred and beautiful in some way. Are you missing that? Are you so buried in work or daily cares that you’re forgetting to lift your head and look around you, to soak in the beauty that abides in this stressful, chaotic world?

Associated energies: Stability, beauty
Associated season: Summer
Element associations: Air, water, earth
Color association: White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

After watching Egret behavior for a while, I was shocked at some of the behavior I witnessed. The adult egrets have so much patience with their chicks who keep trying to poke their eyes out. The chicks are supremely hungry and if they realize there isn’t enough food, the older stronger chicks will bully and maul the younger weaker siblings making them more susceptible to predators like alligators just so that they can get more food.

I’m just imagining an anthropomorphized version of Lord of the Flies! The lesson learned? A scarcity mindset can lead you to make different decisions than you would if you felt like there were abundant opportunities. Dr. Shahram Heshmat describes in more detail in his article, “How does being poor change the way we feel and think?

“He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one’s waking life was spent watching one’s feet.”

― William Golding, Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies, theatrical production by Everyman & Playhouse

On another side note: I found more Egret photos from the Audubon Society. The Audubon Society protects the Egrets since many people who killed them for their feathers. Smithsonian Museum shares a story about the deadly feather trade. I’ve never seen one in person, though I’ve seen a few bloggers have taken pictures of beautiful egrets.

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Blue Jay

Featured Photo by Alain Audet

  • Physical Description: The blue jay is a medium-sized songbird that weighs about 3 ounces, measures about 10 inches, and has a wingspan of about 15.5 inches. Like all other corvids (the family that includes birds such as crows and ravens), jays are fiercely intelligent and social birds, with a loud call that ranges from a harsh cry to close mimicry of other birds or sounds. The blue jay features blue plumage on its back, white, or pale grey on its front, and a varied patched work detail of blue, black, and grey on its wings and tail, with a slightly darker mask around the face. It has a jaunty crest of feathers on the top of the head that raises when the bird is alert; the crest is lowered when the jay is relaxed, especially when feeding a brood or dealing with extended family such as flock mates. The Steller’s jay is dark blue with a charcoal grey head and lacks the paler belly of the common blue jay.
  • Geographic Distribution: Native to North America, the blue jay can be found in southern Canada and throughout the United States from the Midwest to the eastern coastal regions. The Steller’s jay is found in western North American from Canada down through Central America.
  • Environment: The blue jay is mainly found in mixed forest areas, especially forest edges, residential areas such as towns and cities. The Steller’s jay prefers evergreen forests.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The word jay may come from the Old French jai, meaning gay, a reference to the bird’s bright plumage. The Canadian gray jay (Perisoreus candensis) has a reputation for thieving; perisoriou means “to pile up.”

As the blue jay is a North American bird, it lacks the older religious symbolism of Old World birds. Instead, it is featured in Native American myths, and seems to have been an important figure especially to the Chinook, Sioux, and Coastal Salish tribes. In one myth, the jay is said to have had a beautiful voice and became overly proud of it. To punish him, the gods caused it to change to the harsh croak call we know today. In other myths, the blue jay is a trickster figure who works with Coyote or Fox.

The blue jay is the provincial bird of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The provincial bird of British Columbia is the Steller’s jay.

“Bluejay is the trickster hero of the Chinook, Chehalis, and other Northwest Coast tribes. Bluejay is generally a benevolent being who is helpful to humankind, but he is also extremely foolish and careless, and stories about him are often humorous or even slapstick in nature.

Native American Legends: Blue Jay

“Blue Jay was a trickster who enjoyed playing clever tricks on everyone, especially his sister Ioi. As she was the eldest sister, Bluejay was supposed to obey her. But he deliberately misinterpreted what she said, excusing himself by saying, “Ioi always tells lies.”

Bluejay Finds a Wife, A Chinook Legend

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The jay’s strong family bond may be directing you to look to your own family situation. Are you directing more energy into non family areas of your life than into your family itself? The jay may also be urging you to trust your immediate and extended family, including your trusted communities, and by extension to be more alert when dealing with people who are not of these closer relationships. Be fearless when defending your family and the communities in which you participate. The jay’s strong flock or family ties also point to its loyalty.

The jay’s relationship with oak trees may prompt you to look into oak’s meanings. The oak tends to be associated with strength, durability, timelessness, longevity, and protection. If you live in the western part of North America, look instead at the qualities connection with evergreens, the Steller’s jay’s preferred tree, which include fertility and everlasting life.

The blue jay’s familiar talkativeness, coupled with its blue feathers ( a color associated with the throat chakra, one of several energy centers found throughout the body) may be urging you to look at your own communication habits and skills. Are you talking a lot and saying not much of substance? Are you communicating the essential truths and facts, or burying them in a lot of chaff? The color blue is also linked with purity and spirituality; the blue jay may be coaxing you to follow higher ideals and nourish your spirituality.

Finally, the blue jay may be reminding you to gather and store a bit extra in order to ensure that you have a safety net if times get tough.

Photo by Erin Minuskin on Unsplash

Associated energies: Family bonds, social networks, communication, loyalty, fearlessness
Associated seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
Element associations: Earth, Air
Color associations: Blue, white, black

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I’ve been blessed to have come across a few blue jays in my life. I got curious about a lot of Native American tales such as this one: Indian Legend of the Cowichan Tribes :Bluejay brings the Dead girl to life. Despite all the foibles that families have, I wonder how essential trust in the family unit is. I’m sure there is an exception to really dysfunctional families however. In which case, the family that you choose will probably work best here.

The divinatory meaning behind “be more alert when dealing with people who are not of these closer relationships” reminds me of a story that my boyfriend shared with me about The FBI’s First Big Case: The Osage Murders. <<This link is to the history channel. It’s a riveting story of how the Osage Tribe’s wealth lured criminals and with that jealousy and prejudice.

“They’re scalping our souls out here,” complained one exasperated Osage. The systematic embezzlement—referred to as the “Indian business” by some white settlers on the Osage reservation—wasn’t lucrative enough for some, however. In order to maintain tribal control, shares of the oil money could not be sold by the Osage to white settlers, but they could be inherited. That loophole proved the genesis of a calculated, cold-blooded plot to gain inheritance rights from tribe members before killing them. In some instances, white settlers even married their marks to legally become the next of kin before murdering their spouses.”

– Christopher Klein talks about David Gran’s best-selling book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,”

“Be fearless when defending your family and the communities in which you participate”… I feel this phrase echoing throughout history and even in the present. I didn’t plan on writing on this route today, but it certainly has me thinking!

A2Z 2021- Birds – Albatross

Featured Photo by Craig K. Lorenz

  • Physical description: The albatross has a long, straight bill with a hook on the end with two tubes along it, one on each side, to allow the bird to expel seawater taken in with food. Its plumage ranges from browns to whites. The black-footed albatross measures approximately 27 inches long, has a wingspan of approximately 80 inches, and a weight of 7 to 9 pounds.
  • Geographic Distribution: Most albatrosses are found in the southern hemisphere, with the exception of albatrosses found in the North Pacific, which are found off the west coast of North America.
  • Environment: The albatrosses are found in coastal areas.
Black-browed albatross family on Steeple Jason Island, Falkland Islands
Photo by Steve Bloom

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Early on albatrosses were considered to be guides or incarnations of wandering souls lost at sea, which is why it was considered unlucky to shoot or eat one. They were also used as weather indicators, usually meaning that stormy weather was imminent. However the albatross became associated with sin, guilt, and punishment with the publication of Samuel Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In this tale, the albatross is a symbol of guilt and burden, worn about the neck of the sailor who shot it down, thus the bird became seen as the initiator of a series of bad luck.

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.
And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Albatrosses spend a lot of time gliding, rarely needing to flap their wings. This suggests an efficient use of the resources available to them. If you see an albatross, ask yourself if you’re deploying your energy to the best uses. Albatrosses use air currents to propel themselves. Look at your life to see what energies you can borrow to help you along and conserve your own energy.

An albatross can also tell you to stay aloft. These birds can spend weeks on end in the air, never fully landing or returning to shore. Keep flying; trust yourself to soar. Don’t constantly rush back home to feel safe. Be strong, and strike out on your own.

The albatross’s strong connection to its family breeding grounds may inspire you to check in with your family. If you’ve never done so, take a look at your family history or your cultural traditions. What country or countries do your ancestors come from? What can you learn from their customs and heritage? Learning these kinds of things can enrich who you are, and your sense of self.

Associated energies: Conservation of energy, trust in yourself, family, heritage
Associated seasons: Fall, winter
Element associations: Air, water
Color associations: Grey, black, beige, white

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I’m silently laughing at how I’m going to reflect on Arin’s divinatory meanings for 26 birds when I haven’t seen them yet! It’s like reading all the horoscopes and have each of them apply to my life in some way. I’m going to get acquainted with each of them in case I DO have my meaningful moment. These themes are interesting for me to ponder, however. I wonder where I can “borrow” energy. I feel like I rely so much on technology and gadgets that make my life easier. More energy is always wanted! Maybe that’s why I enjoy working on a team that I can depend on. That way I don’t shoulder most of the work. Rushing home to feel safe is such a big temptation. It takes plenty of courage to strike out on one’s own. Lately, I have been thinking of my ancestors and what qualities I may have inherited as I go about my day. These albatrosses are so much fun to watch! I was engrossed by The Midway Project’s film: https://www.albatrossthefilm.com/watch-albatross

A2Z 2021 Theme Reveal

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”

– Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

**Drum roll, please** My theme for 2021’s A to Z Challenge will be about…. BIRDS!

My inspiration is primarily from Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s book “BIRDS a spiritual field guide”. I enjoy her illustrations, her research on mythology & folklore, and her insight into divinatory meanings. I was curious after my former supervisor shared a story with me about her winged messenger.

Here’s the author’s bio:

Arin Murphy-Hiscock has always felt a spiritual connection to birds, especially owls. She is a third-degree Wiccan High Priestess in the Black Forest Clan and the author of Power Spellcraft for Life, Solitary Wicca for Life, The Way of the Green Witch, and The Way of the Hedge Witch. She lives and bird-watches with her husband and two children.

Here’s the back-flap:

Birds are all around us building nests for their eggs, perching on a nearby tree branch, floating freely on a breath of wind. But do you ever feel like a bird might be trying to connect with you or even tell you something? This book can help you figure out the special message your visitor is trying to share. Inside this lovely illustrated field guide you’ll find everything you need to decipher the unique meaning behind each individual bird sighting. From physical description to folklore, each of the common bird species detailed within has a story and a unique symbolism which will help reveal the changes these mystical creatures want you to make in your life. With this enlightening volume as your inspiration, get ready to take a look at your life from a bird’s eye view one robin, crow, and hummingbird at a time!

Hello! For those who are new to Culture Shocks…WELCOME! Let me take a moment and introduce myself and some of the projects I’m working on.

Here you will find my personal journal entries, stories, poetry, quotes, and photos of things I find fascinating. Occasionally, I share snippets from my myriad of hobbies that I rotate on a seasonal basis. Stick with me long enough, you’ll realize that even though I’ve chosen birds as my focus, I tend to get off on a tangent due to disparate connections I make. I blog sporadically and randomly. I may do 5 entries for A2Z in one day, go AWOL, and return with full vigor. My attempt to blog on a schedule has been futile so far!

Ah! A face to a name! My name is Sa. Nice to meet you! 🙂

I wear many hats literally and figuratively. I’m an audacious sister, friend, daughter, grad student, Rotarian, technical writer, businesswoman, Toastmaster, volunteer for multiple causes, and more. My blog is my comforting oasis, though I may occasionally vent here when I have nowhere else to go.

For those of you who have been here a while, I finished my 1st crochet-a-long with the alumni for the month of March! I’m happy they evaluated my crochet partner and me very highly. They remarked that it was fun and engaging! I was happy to see the flowers again after such a devastating freeze over our state in February. Easter is just around the corner. Spring is here!

I’m getting my COVID vaccine tomorrow morning at the stadium. The current climate surrounding Asian Americans that has swept the nation has had me reminiscing about the past. I purposely remain vague though I relate to various stories that have been shared across various social media platforms. My main question is what will I do moving forward.

The alumni book club has gotten into some interesting reads. Though, I’m having some difficulty finishing the book, “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konikova. I’m wrapping up on “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. We’re about to start “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. I’m still working through some bloggers’ books and poignant poetry as well.

I’m resuming collaboration with a blogger on some poetry regarding some fragrances. I work as a beauty consultant and I thought it would be a fun way to learn about all the fragrances that I’m unfamiliar with. I was so inspired by his work that I thought I could explore the sensation of smell!

I’m currently hooked on the Home Edits Show. I recently de-cluttered my space of many books, clothes, and papers. I found that I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I would, even books that were formally my favorites. I think it’s because there’s only so much that I can focus on in the present that I don’t have time to linger on any items that are associated with my past. Even though it was a massive undertaking, I still feel like I could use some help. There’s some things I still feel like I can let go. Reorganize my crafts supplies. Change particular containers. I have a vision. I determined to make it happen. Previously, I was intrigued by Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It has helped me immensely, though I think I didn’t follow it completely. It’s still a work in progress!

I’m also enjoying a remix of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2

Alrighty, that wraps up my intro for now! I hope to reconnect with new and veteran participants of the A to Z challenge! I look forward to reading your blog posts!

Frogging the Swatch

A CAL is basically a group of people all working on a large project at the same time and pace. Some are targeted to more advanced crocheters and involve a variety of difficult stitches. Others are designed so that everyone can participate, no matter their skill level. Often the pattern chosen will be an afghan, and while everyone does the same pattern, each individual chooses their own colors.

FAQ – What is a Crochet-A-Long?
Kandice @ Sweet Kiwi Crochet
Rainbow Amigurumi donuts coming your way!

Hello! Hope you’ve been well! I’ve been working extra hours co-hosting a CAL (Crochet-A-Long) Series for alumni at my alma mater this month with my friend. Colloquially, she has dubbed us the “Hookers with a Yarn Addiction”. Catchy, isn’t it? In fact, she wants t-shirts! She’s a funny, smexy grandma! 😉

However, to be accepted by our school, we’re formally known as the Alumni Crochet Group. School administrator must keep her job after all, and it must be safe for work! She’s also helping us to possibly get sponsored by Yarnivore, a local yarn company and reaching out to other businesses. So, I must meet her halfway and work with her as best as I can. 🙂

In the end, 55 students signed up! Meanwhile, when I saw some friends while hanging out in town, they decided to also invite themselves, their siblings, and friends, so the numbers bumped up. It was great to catch up with everyone again and also meet some new faces along the way. What a journey it has been! We shared so much together.

I spent quite a bit of time managing social media public relations and creating a beautiful 17-page guidebook while my friend created an original pattern for a scarf. Today, I just filmed my friend as she frogged her swatch that we used to teach virtually via Zoom. As an intermediate crocheter, it’s rather heart wrenching for me to watch someone unravel their work.

Frog is a word that can be used as a verb. In this sense, “to frog” means “to rip out stitches.” When used this way, the word is slang and it is also a play on words. It pays tribute to our amphibious friends, the frogs, and their choruses of “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit”. When you discover a mistake in your crochet work, you rip it, rip it, rip it. So, you frog it.

Frog in Crochet, Spruce Crafts

When I was in high school, one of my English teachers recommended a book for me to read by Debbie Macomber called “The Shop on Blossom Street“. Intrigued, I read the rest of the books in her series. I enjoyed seeing these female characters bond and wanted an experience of my own. I later became president of the knitting club at my school. Continuing onward and co-hosting a crochet group at my college has been a dream come true for me.

I came across some inspiring stories like this woman who crocheted her wedding dress for five months on her bus commute.

Chi Krneta’s story on Seattle Magazine
Chrysanthemum Gown & Chrysanthemum Gown Train Addition pattern on Ravelry

…and this story about a Olek, a Polish-born yarn artist and crochet extraordinaire, whose team yarn bombed this train in four days!

The art of yarn bombing: Polish artist covers an entire train in crochet
Woman’s Weekly

See you next time! Hope to hop on more often as soon as I can!

Coloring Pages: Floral Poem & Quote

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

– John Keats, Endymion

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea

This past week I’m attempting to meditate and center myself as I’m adjusting to the chaos. One of the university administrators asked me if I would be interested in teaching a virtual workshop as a way of engaging alumni during the pandemic. Students are feeling the cabin fever and are itching to learn new hobbies.

I decided to team up with one of my friends and co-teach a crochet class during Friday evenings in the month of March. My experience being president of a knitting club back in high school is coming in handy! In the first couple of hours within posting the event, 18 people signed up!

The deadline to register is the end of next week, but I may already have my hands full with 18 students! I’m planning out the logistics as my friend is figuring out the scarf pattern we’re working on. We picked school colors for the yarn to feature school spirit.

Snow Quotes

We were blind-sighted by a snowstorm that recently hit our area. Texas generally has such a warm climate year round. So the past few days have probably been the coldest for us in a decade. Like some of you, we have lost power, heat, and running water. I’m going to be okay, and I believe it’ll be a lot better by the weekend. In the meantime, I thought to share some snow quotes that got me thinking! 😉

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about

Haruku Murakami
Image by Simon from Pixabay

Braised Cabbage and Mushroom Piroshki

Good morning! For today’s Tasty Tuesday, we will explore a piece of Tatyana’s cookbook, Beyond Borscht!

My boyfriend has an endless fascination with Russia and Ukraine and bought this book with a gift card he received for Christmas. I must have learned much about Poland from him.

And… I LOVE to cook! He picked two recipes and asked me to pick one to try out this weekend. I settled on the Piroshki instead of the Pilaf (which I will one day try)! This is my first Russian dish I made from home!

Most of the ingredients were easy to find in the store, but I had a difficult time looking for the sauerkraut! I’ve never eaten it before. I spent perhaps half an hour looking for it being misdirected by all the workers I asked along the way. I guess they don’t eat it either.

I was about to give up, but I remembered that Tatyana said that her grandmother said sauerkraut was her secret ingredient! I couldn’t give up. Of course, it was on the top shelf not at eye level. I looked at the can of Bavarian style sauerkraut in awe.

I was hungry and decided to improvise the recipe. I didn’t feel all too confident in making the bread to deep fry in the time my stomach was growling, so I bought some bakery-made bolillo rolls.

I got to work and asked my boyfriend to help! Now that he’s Covid-free, he couldn’t wait to try out this recipe! We chopped all the ingredients up and sautéed them in a frying pan for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Everyone was curious and asked a lot of questions!

Oh! It was delicious!!! 😍I added a bit of white wine vinegar in there. We saved a ton of money too. The Ukranian restaurant takes pride in being one of the few in town, so the owner naturally charges a bit more than what I’m willing to pay for. Only for special occasions. 😋